Sinclair ZX80
Anouncedced:February 1980
Available:Late 1980
Price:£99.95 / US$199.95
How many:50,000
Weight:12 ounces
CPU:Zilog Z80A @ 3.25MHz
RAM:1K, 64K max
Display:22 X 32 text
hooks to TV
Ports:memory, cassette
Peripherals:Sinclair thermal printer

For just $199.95, you can get a complete, powerful, full-function computer, matching or surpassing other personal computers costing several times more.

The Sinclair ZX80 is an extraordinary personal computer, compact and briefcase sized, it weighs just 12oz, yet in performance it matches and surpasses systems many times its size and price.

The ZX80 is an advanced example of microelectronics design. Inside, it has one-tenth the number of parts of existing comparable machines.

In 1980, British company Sinclair released their ZX80 computer for £99.95 (British pounds). Also available in the United States, it is considered to be the world's first computer for under US$200, at least that's what Sinclair Research Ltd stated in all of their ads.

At the bottom of the magazine advertisements was an order form: "Please send me __ ZX80 personal computer(s) for $199.95 each ..."

The ZX-80 was designed with only the base necessities, using off the shelf components - there are no custom or proprietary chips involved.

An external cassette drive, typical of the era, is the only method of loading and saving programs.

Even cheaper at £75.95 in a kit form, the inexpensive price of the Sinclair ZX-80 introduced many people to the computer world who might otherwise have not ventured forth due to the perceived high prices of other albeit more capable computer systems.

The ZX80 was an amazing product - a real useable computer for only $200.00. But it did have it's drawbacks:
  • No color support
  • No sound support
  • Very limited memory
  • The built-in BASIC programming language can deal only with whole numbers
  • Very slow program execution - there are no video chips, the CPU performs all of the computer functions
  • The keyboard is a membrane-type, a flat plastic surface which is difficult to use and wears-out rather quickly

  • Sinclair sold 50,000 ZX80s before they came out with the improved ZX-81 one year later. The ZX-81 was much cheaper, at only $99.95, the first computer for under $100. The ZX-81 had only 5 IC chips, compared to the ZX80's 21 chips.

    In 1982, American company Timex started selling the ZX-81 in America, calling it the Timex Sinclair 1000.

    Related Links

  • Wikipedia
  • ZX80 - Science of Cambridge from Planet Sinclair
  • ZX-TEAM-Homepage
  • "Another ZX80 Archive"
  • ZX-80 Hardware Page

  • History of Sinclair Computers

    • 1980: February - Sinclair Research announces the ZX80 computer in the North American market.
    • 1981: March - Sinclair unveils the ZX81 in the UK, based on the Z80A microprocessor.
    • 1981: December - Sinclair Research reports that it has shipped 250,000 ZX81 personal computers.
    • 1982: April - Sinclair Research introduces the Sinclair ZX Spectrum in the UK.
    • 1982: July - Timex Computer begins selling the Timex Sinclair 1000 through over 1000 Timex retail outlets.
    • 1982: August - Sinclair Research reports that it has shipped 500,000 ZX81 personal computers in over 30 countries.
    • 1983: January - Timex introduces the Timex/Sinclair 2000, which is their re-packaged Sinclair Spectrum for the North American market.
      Source: Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers

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